T-Mobile will give free internet access to 10 million households in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in an effort to close the “homework gap,” the disparity in achievement between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.
CEO John Legere notes that about 15% of students have no home internet service, while most teachers assign homework that requires online access. As part of the program, T-Mobile will supply a Wi-Fi hotspot for the home and an internet connection, with up to 100GB of data annuially. Participants will be able to purchase more network equipment at company cost, the price T-Mobile pays.
According to T-Mobile, there are 35 million households and more than five million of those have no home internet. While the company did not offer specifics on the equipment or the network quality being offered to Project 10 Million participants, the carrier notes that recipients of this program will benefit from the New T-Mobile’s upcoming 5G network.
Implicit in the deal is the necessity of approving the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. T-Mobile effectively puts 10 million homes on the line as a bargaining chip for approval, and the company’s press release states that, “T-Mobile can make these commitments if the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger closes.” It is not clear if T-Mobile would still be willing to help 10 million households access the internet if it does not get its way with the merger.